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YOU ARE BORN TO SHINE

2 Corithians Chapter 4 verse 6

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Saturday, June 15 2019

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

Recap from the book of Ephesians: Last week we finished our studies in the book of Ephesians.

Paul, by the Holy Spirit, gave us deep insight into the mysteries of eternal life in Christ Jesus. He dealt with the fundamentals of the gospel of Christ in all its saving glory.

Ephesians, more than any other book, presents the purpose and plan of God for the church. This book sets forth one of the clearest presentations on the relation between positional truth and experiencing positional truth in one’s life. We concluded with the revelation of God’s armour for every believer in Christ.

Introduction

The book of Galatians is one of the books Apostle Paul wrote (Gal.6:11; See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!) to the Churches in respond to certain issues in the Churches. In this letter, Paul was addressing the confusion brought upon the Churches in the province of Galatia by the Jewish Christian who came from Jerusalem, teaching them about the necessity of incorporating Judaism with their faith in Christ.  Gal.3:1-3;

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

The challenge was to help the believers to get a good understanding of the concept of the salvation we have by faith in the Messiah and the need for us to keep the commandments without depending on the works of the law for salvation.

 The Author; Gal.1:1

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:

It is very important to note that Paul who was converted from Judaism wrote this letter to the Churches in Galatia. It should also be noted that Paul was a Jew and was still practicing the Jewish traditions. We have proofs in the book of Acts that:

  • Paul kept the Sabbath – Acts16:13; Acts 18:4
  • He kept the appointed festivals – Acts 20:16
  • He paid for four men to be purified at the end of their Nazarite vows. These included a sin offering.
  • He also purified himself in the Temple. Acts 21:23-26

This implies that Paul would not have taught anything that was contrary to what Jesus had taught. We know what Jesus taught regarding the commandments. Matt.5:17-18;

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

We must study the Epistle to the Galatia Churches knowing that it was written by a well-educated Jewish scholar that had had a personal encounter with his Messiah. He was called as an apostle to the gentiles and knew the separation between the practice of Judaism and Christianity.

Since we have established the author, let us see what we know about the original recipients of the letter.

The Recipient; Gal. 1:2

“and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia.”

According to the Gregory-Aland numbering, the epistle was dated to somewhere between 175-225 C.E.

It was written to a group of non-Jewish believers in Jesus (Gal 4:8, 5:2, 6:12). They resided in the Roman province of Galatia. The province of Galatia included cities like: Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia. These are today located in modern Turkey.

       

Province of Galatia

Since this was a Roman province, it is assumed that the epistle was written in Greek language. It is most likely that this epistle was not sent to one specific group of believers, but to a number of assemblies in the province/region. This is an interesting fact, as the rest of Paul’s epistles are all addressed to a specific assembly.

The Purpose of the Epistle; Gal.1:6-7

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Paul felt the need to write this warning due to a group of people that came to the believers in the Churches of Galatia with a different gospel. They required them to be circumcised before they can become true believers. The major theme of this Epistle is a warning about the perversion of the gospel.

The Central Theme of the Epistle; Gal.3:29

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Paul was teaching the gentiles that they became part of Israel (blessing of Abraham) through their faith in the Messiah and not by circumcision or becoming a Jew by observing the law of Moses. Gal.2:3;

“Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.”

Paul explains that the gospel is not something he was taught, but something that was directly revealed to him by Christ. Thus, it is not the teaching of men. Therefore, he is so adamant that any other gospel, even from the angels, would be a false gospel. Gal.1:11-12;

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

CONCLUSION

This epistle reveals the importance of context. If you want to get to the real meaning of a scripture, it is necessary to understand the why, when and who as well. It is easy to twist a piece of scripture to fit a specific doctrine. The Epistle to the Galatians is one of the prime examples of how the historical context shines a completely different light on the verses that we have read repeatedly.

It is also very important to get to know the author. If we know exactly who Paul is, and what he had written in his other works, it is a lot easier to see what he actually meant in this epistle to the Galatians.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 12:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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